Just five weeks remain in the Super Rugby season and all bar one team is still in the race for a finals berth.
Sitting 16 points adrift of eighth place, you can probably put a line through the Sunwolves chances.
Just eight points separate the third placed Sharks from the 14th placed Blues so there’s plenty to play for all across the table.
We have previewed all six Super Rugby Round 14 fixtures right here and found our betting plays for those games so read on and see who we are backing here.
Friday 17 May, 5:35pm, Westpac Stadium
Hurricanes 20 – Jaguares 28
The Jaguares were brought back to earth by the Highlanders last week, ending their four game winning run.
The Canes extended their winning run to five with a scrappy win over the Blues in Auckland last week to firm their grip on the top wild card spot.
Outside of belting the Chiefs by 28, most of the wins in this streak have been tight games, with the other four being decided by 10 points or less.
The Jaguares have played plenty of close encounters lately too and 15.5 is way too big of a line for me to feel confident taking the Hurricanes so instead I’ll back them in for a close win at a good value price.
Back the Hurricanes to by 1-12 @ $3.25
Friday 17 May, 7:45pm, AAMI Park
Rebels 17 – Bulls 32
The Rebels had to scrap against the Reds last weekend, that win looking even more impressive when you consider Quade Cooper was taken off with a concussion.
After going through the standard tests, the mercurial playmaker will be back in the lineup this weekend as they host a Bulls side that they are level on points with.
Having given up the conference lead to the Brumbies this weekend they can retake top spot with a game in hand and put some further distance between themselves and the Brumbies who are on a bye and the loser of the Reds-Waratahs clash in Brisbane.
The Bulls haven’t travelled well losing five of their last seven away games which is probably why they are underdogs here.
It’s hard to have a lot of faith in the Rebels here but backing the Bulls on the road honestly scares me more so I’ll take the home side to cover a short line here.
Back the Rebels to Cover -7.5 @ $1.90
Saturday 18 May, 5:35pm, Eden Park
Blues 23 – Chiefs 8
The Blues have closed the gap between themselves and the rest of the New Zealand conference but still somehow find themselves stuck on the bottom of the group.
That could change here as they take on a Chiefs side they trail by just two points this weekend.
While they were quite poor last weekend against the Hurricanes as they lost their fourth straight game, their home record is still quite good this year with four wins and losses to the Crusaders and Canes.
It is unlikely they will get a better chance than this to end a winless run against the Chiefs that stretches back to the early part of this decade.
For this game, the question is do you want to take a small handicap or back the Blues at a short price to win outright.
In this instance, I’ll take the home crowd to get them not only over the line, but help them cover against a side they played very close at FMG Stadium a month ago.
Back the Blues to Cover -4.5 @ $1.90
Saturday 18 May, 7:45pm, Suncorp Stadium
Reds 32 – Waratahs 40
It’s been almost six years and ten Super Rugby matches since the Reds last beat the Waratahs.
For Brad Thorn and his side, any margin of victory will do and since they are even money underdogs, that approach will apply for the punters who backed them as well.
They are working on building Suncorp Stadium into a fortress and have beaten the Brumbies, Sunwolves and Stormers at home already this season.
Since their loss to the Waratahs at the SCG in March, they have gone on a 5-3 run and I like them at that price to back them in for a win with some confidence.
Back the Reds to Win @ $2.00
Saturday 18 May, 11:05pm, Ellis Park
Lions 38 – Highlanders 29
The Highlanders look like they are out of their rough patch going on a four game unbeaten run (which does include a draw with the Chiefs) but they now have to go on tour as they try to pull away from the chasing pack in the wild card race.
It could be tricky though with the home side winning seven of the last eight meetings between the two teams and the Highlanders winning going 3-7 in their last 10 away games.
The Lions on the other hand have been pretty good at home lately going 7-2 in their last nine home games with five of those wins coming by eight or more points.
If there’s one lesson to take from this Super Rugby season it’s that the logical play might not be the right one but I’m going to stick with the logic here and back the Lions to win at home.
Back the Lions to Win @ $1.90
Sunday 19 May, 1:15am, Newlands
Stormers 19 – Crusaders 19
Speaking of logic, that suggests the Crusaders, who are really good, should handily beat the Stormers, who might be good themselves, but just aren’t at that level.
While the home side desperately needs a win to keep pace with the rest of the conference, this is one of those games that screams “scheduled loss at the start of the season”
13 of the Crusaders last 16 wins have been by 13 or more points and with a line hovering around that two converted try mark, have to like the side rounding into form to take this one out.
Back the Crusaders to Cover -13.5 @ $1.90
It is fair to say that the last weekend was not a positive one for Australian Rugby.
The Reds hit a new low with a humiliating 63-28 defeat at the hands of the Sunwolves and that was followed up by the Waratahs losing to the Crusaders after leading 29-0.
It doesn’t get any easier for both these sides this weekend, while the Brumbies head to South Africa for a clash with the Lions.
We have analysed every game set to take place in Super Rugby this weekend and our complete Super Rugby Round 14 tips can be found below.
Friday 18 May, 4:35pm, Westpac Stadium
Hurricanes 38 – Reds 34
Ballymore would not have been a fun place this week after the Reds were humbled by the previously winless Sunwolves in Japan.
The Hurricanes blitzed the Blues in Auckland last week to extend their competition best winning streak out to nine games, the only thing keeping them off the top of the table is the extra bye they have had compared to the Crusaders.
There is only one realistic outcome for this game and the line is where the play should be, however with it sitting at 26.5 that is in that middle ground that is worth steering clear of.
Saturday 19 May, 3:15pm, Mong Kok Stadium
Sunwolves 26 – Stormers 23
It had to come sooner or later and the Sunwolves finally got their first win of the season and didn’t they play well in that game.
A trip to Hong Kong for this home game against the struggling Stormers who travel from New Zealand after losing to the Chiefs.
What cannot be ignored however is the fact their defence is still leaking points at an alarming rate, even in their win, a struggling Reds attack still put 28 on the board.
That number did bring their average points allowed below 40 per game though.
As much fun as a Sunwolves winning streak would be, the Stormers have the quality to take care of business and comfortable win here.
Back the Stormers to Cover the Line (-10.5) @ $1.91
Saturday 19 May, 5:35pm, Eden Park
Blues 24 – Crusaders 32
After coming back from an early 29-0 deficit against the Waratahs, the Crusaders must be feeling borderline invincible as they head into this clash with the Blues.
They will not be able to afford a similar run of mistakes against the Blues and leave them needing another miracle comeback this weekend.
It has been a long time between drinks for the Auckland side, losing their last six against the Crusaders and their record of two wins from their last eight games suggest that streak is not going to end this weekend.
Back the Crusaders to Cover the Line (-11.5)
Saturday 19 May, 7:45pm, Allianz Stadium
Waratahs 41 – Highlanders 12
So close yet oh so far, the Waratahs have been in the mix late against the Blues and Crusaders in the past two weeks but have not been able to pull a win out.
While the bonus points from those two games would have provided little comfort ahead of this game, they return to Allianz Stadium for the first time in almost a month, where they were shut out by the Lions.
The Highlanders have won their last four games against New South Wales however their last game in Sydney in 2016 was a tight affair.
Every week has an unexpectedly tight game and this is my pick for the week as the Waratahs find themselves with a chance late on for the third week in a row.
Back the Waratahs to Cover the Line (+5.5) @ $1.91
Saturday 19 May, 11:05pm, Kings Park Stadium
Sharks 28 – Chiefs 24
An early check of the line gives the surprising sight of the Chiefs as underdogs however they will go into this game missing 20 first team players through injury and a national team camp bizarrely scheduled for the middle of the Super Rugby competition.
That should boost the Sharks confidence significantly however such is the depth of New Zealand rugby that it is only a 4.5 point line.
After losing a back and forth tussle to the Bulls last weekend the Sharks are back to the pack when it comes to the finals picture.
While the replacement Chiefs will give the Sharks a good run out, the home side is the safe play here.
Back the Sharks to Cover the Line (-4.5) @ $1.91
Sunday 20 May, 1:15am, Emirates Airlines Park
Lions 42 – Brumbies 24
Whatever momentum the Lions had built up was brought to a screeching halt during their trip to Australia and New Zealand with three straight losses bringing them back to the pack.
After that run they will be very happy to be back home and facing a Brumbies side with a longer losing streak than they have.
This is the Brumbies first trip to Emirates Airlines Park since 2015 however they have won on their last two visits.
The Lions won a low scoring slug fest in Canberra last year but this game should have plenty more points in it as the likes of Elton Jantjies look to be unleashed here.
Back the Lions to Cover the Line (-16.5) @ $1.91
Sunday 20 May, 7:40am, Estadio Jose Amalfitani
Jaguares 54 – Bulls 24
Don’t look now but the Jaguares are putting together a good run of form and are surging up the table.
Four wins in a row, all away from home and they are not dreaming of a finals appearance ahead of this clash with the Bulls.
This will be just the third meeting between these sides with the first two being won by the home side on both occasions.
In terms of the finals positioning a big win for either side will go down very well with the teams tied on 24 points so far with just a handful of games remaining.
In this instance the home side is the play here as they are just in remarkable form.
Back the Jaguares to Cover the Line (-4.5) @ $1.91
This is the final complete round of Super Rugby action before the midseason break for international fixtures.
The Brumbies ended the horror run of Australian Super Rugby sides when they beat the Kings last weekend, but it does not get any easier for the likes of the Waratahs and the Rebels this weekend.
We have analysed every game of the weekend and you can find our complete 2017 Super Rugby Round 14 tips below.
Friday 26 May, 5:35pm, Eden Park
The Chiefs have dominated the Blues in recent years and they will go into this clash as clear favourites.
The Chiefs had their winning run ended by the Crusaders last weekend, but they were far from disgraced and still look to be one of the best sides in Super Rugby.
In saying that, the Chiefs have been far from the most reliable betting side in the competition – they have won five of their past seven games as home favourites, but they are only 2-5 against the line in this scenario.
The Blues went down to the Stormers last weekend and this will be another key test of where they are at as a side.
They have won one of their past three games as home underdogs, but they are 3-0 against the line in this scenario and have not been disgraced in any of their games this season.
This should be a fairly evenly-matched affair and the Blues are a good bet to cover the line with a start of 4.5 points.
Back The Blues To Beat The Line (+4.5 Points)
Friday 26 May, 7:45pm, Suncorp Stadium
This is a crucial game for both the Reds and the Force.
The Force recorded an upset win over the Reds in Perth earlier this season, but it is the Reds that will go into this clash as clear favourites.
The Reds went into the bye on the back of a win over the Rebels, but they continue to be a very tough team to trust from a betting standpoint.
They have won only two of their past four games as home favourites and they have failed to cover the line in their past four games in this scenario.
The Force produced one of their worst performances of the season against the Highlanders last weekend, but this is obviously a much easier challenge.
Winning away from home has been a big issue for the Force, but they are 6-3 against the line as away underdogs.
There is not as much between these two teams as the current betting market suggests and the Force can cover the line with a start of 5.5 points.
Back The Force To Beat The Line (+5.5 Points)
Saturday 27 May, 7:50pm, Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium
This may be the best chance the Sunwolves have to win another game this season, but it is still the Cheetahs that will start this game as narrow favourites.
The Cheetahs really have struggled in Super Rugby this season and they were absolutely no match for a rampant Hurricanes last weekend.
They have won their only two previous games as favourites this season, but they have won only one of their past 14 games away from home.
The Sunwolves continue to play credible rugby without winning and they fancy their chances of beating the Cheetahs this weekend.
They have won one of their past five games as home underdogs for a narrow profit, but they are only 2-3 against the line in this scenario.
This is a game that the market looks to have got just about right and I am more than happy to stay out from a betting standpoint.
Saturday 27 May, 5:35pm, Forsyth Barr Stadium
The Highlanders continued on their winning ways last weekend and they are dominant favourites to account for the Waratahs.
While the Highlanders have won eight games on the trot, they have still not been a particularly profitable side from a betting standpoint – they are 5-2 as home favourites and 3-4 against the line in this scenario.
The Waratahs returned to winning form with a victory over the Rebels last weekend, but this is obviously a much tougher challenge.
They have won only one of their past five games as away underdogs and they are 2-3 against the line in this scenario.
The Highlanders really should be able to get the job done in this clash, but there is no value at their current price and this is another game that I am happy to stay out of.
Saturday 27 May, 7:45pm, AAMI Park
The Crusaders are the shortest-priced favourites in Super Rugby this weekend and they really should prove far too strong for the Rebels.
The Crusaders maintained their unbeaten start to the season with their win over the Chiefs and the Super Rugby title really does look likes their’s to lose.
They have won six of their past seven games as away favourites and they are a profitable 4-3 against the line in this scenario.
The Rebels suffered their fourth loss on the trot against the Waratahs last weekend and they look like a side that is mentally finished with this season.
They have won only one of their past seven games as home underdogs and they are a poor 2-5 against the line in this scenario.
Another massive win for the Crusaders looks likely and they can cover the big line of 24.5 points in the process.
Back The Crusaders To Beat The Line (-24.5 Points)
Saturday 27 May, 11:05pm, Loftus Versfeld
The Hurricanes head to South Africa on the back of a big win over the Cheetahs and they are clear favourites to beat the struggling Bulls.
The Chiefs and the Crusaders remain the only teams to beat the Hurricanes this season and that does not look like changing this weekend.
They have won three of their past four games as away favourites, but they are only 2-2 against the line in this scenario.
The Bulls suffered their third loss in a row when they were flogged by the Lions last weekend and it really doesn’t get any easier for them.
Winning as underdogs has proven impossible for the Bulls this season and their record against the line in this scenario isn’t much better.
This is another game where it is tough to find any real betting value.
Sunday 28 May, 1:15am, Growthpoint Kings Park
This is one of the most interesting games of the weekend in Super Rugby.
The Sharks have had the upper hand over the Stormers in recent seasons and they will start this clash as narrow favourites.
Home favourtism is a position in which the Sharks have thrived – they have won six of their past seven games in this scenario – but they are only 3-4 against the line.
The Stormers ended their losing streak with a win over the Blues and they remain well and truly on top of the Africa 1 Division.
Winning as underdogs has proven to be an issue for the Stormers and they have lost their past three games as away underdogs.
The Sharks really should prove too good for the Stormers and they represent genuine value at their current price.
Back The Sharks To Win @ $1.73
Sunday 28 May, 7:40am, Estadio Jose Amalfitani
Both the Jaguares and Brumbies have struggled in recent weeks and this is a crucial game for these two sides.
The Jaguares have the home ground advantage and they will go into this clash as narrow favourites.
The Argentine side have won only one of their past six games and while they have won six of their past eight games as home favourites, they are 3-5 against the line in this scenario.
The Brumbies ended their losing streak with a fighting win over the Kings and a win over the Jaguares would give them the clear upper hand in the Australian Conference.
They have won one of their past three games as away underdogs and they are 2-1 against the line in this scenario.
This really should be an even affair and the Brumbies are a good bet to cover the line with a start of 5.5 points.
Back The Brumbies To Beat The Line (+5.5 Points)
Sunday 28 May, 10:30pm, Emirates Airline Park
The Lions continued on their winning way with a dominant performance against the Bulls and they are clear favourites to beat the Kings this weekend.
The Lions are still one of the most reliable betting sides in all of Super Rugby Rugby and they have now won their last nine games as home favourites, while they are 6-3 against the line in this scenario.
The Kings had the biggest winning streak in their history ended by the Brumbies, but they were far from disgraced in the defeat.
The Kings have been right up there with the Lions as one of the best betting sides in Super Rugby this season.
They have won two of their past seven games as away underdogs for a sizeable profit and more impressively they are 7-0 against the line in this scenario.
The real betting value in this game is with the Over in the Total Points betting market.
Both these sides are capable of putting some big points on the board and backing the Over has been a profitable betting play in games involving either of these teams this season.
Back The Over
This is the final round of the Super Rugby season before the break for the international Test Series between Australia and England, New Zealand and Wales and South Africa and Ireland.
The Hurricanes and Highlanders met in the Grand Final last year and are set to clash at Westpac Stadium on Friday afternoon before the Waratahs and Chiefs do battle in another potential final preview.
There are plenty of other key games across the rest of the week, but the highlight might be in the early hours of Sunday morning when the Bulls and the Lions clash at Loftus Versfeld.
Friday 27 May, 5:35pm, Westpac Stadium
Hurricanes 27 - Highlanders 20
This is a rematch of the 2016 Super Rugby final, which was won by the Highlanders in a big upset.
Both these teams will go into this crucial fixture on the back of the bye and it is the Hurricanes who will go into this game as favourites, despite losing two of their past four games.
The Hurricanes have won six of their past eight games as home favourites, but they have still been a losing betting proposition, while they are 4-4 against the line in this scenario.
The Highlanders will be chasing their fourth straight win following impressive performances against the Brumbies, Chiefs and Crusaders, which makes them the form team of the competition.
They continue to thrive as underdogs and they have won four of their past five games when giving away a start and they also have an excellent record against the line.
Backing the Highlanders as underdogs has been a highly profitable play for the past 12 months and I am keen to throw my support behind them again.
Recommended Bet: Back The Highlanders To Win @ $2
Friday 27 May, 7:45pm, Allianz Stadium
Waratahs 45 - Chiefs 25
This is another crucial game as both sides need to win to retain their place at the top of their respective conferences.
The Waratahs had their winning streak ended by the Crusaders last weekend and they really did seem to struggle without Kurtley Beale in the side.
This will be just the second game at home they have started as underdogs in the past 12 months, but they are 1-3 overall as underdogs and have the same record against the line.
The Chiefs proved far too strong for the Rebels last weekend and they have now won seven of their past eight games.
Their record as away favourites is a perfect 2-0 and they have beaten the line in both of these fixtures.
I expect the Chiefs to be far too strong for the Waratahs and they can cover the line of 3.5 points comfortably.
Recommended Bet: Back The Chiefs To Beat The Line (-3.5 Points)
Saturday 28 May, 3:00am, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Kings 29 - Jaguares 22
This will be the second meeting between the Kings and the Jaguares after the Jaguares scored a dominant 73-27 victory over the Kings when they met earlier this season.
This has not been a season to remember for either side, but the Jaguares will still start this game as clear favourites, despite having lost seven of their past eight games.
The Jaguares have won just two of their four games as favourites this season, while they are a shocking 1-5 against the line in this scenario.
The betting statistics of the Kings are not any better – they are yet to win a game as home underdogs and their record against the line in this situation is just 1-4.
I am not willing to back either of these teams and this is a match that I am more than happy to stay out of from a betting perspective.
Recommended Bet: No Bet
Saturday 28 May, 5:35pm, Eden Park
Blues 21 - Crusaders 26
This is another very big game in the New Zealand Conference.
The Crusaders returned to winning form with a professional performance against the Waratahs last weekend and they are clear favourites to beat the Blues for the fifth time in a row.
The Crusaders are 3-0 as away favourites in the past 12 months and they have lost just a single game as the punter’s elect across this time period, while they are 6-3 against the line.
The Blues were far from impressive against the Force and they may have won four of their past five games, but they are unable to match it with the best teams in the competition.
They have won just one of their past six games as home underdogs and they are a poor 2-4 against the line in this scenario.
The Crusaders should prove far too strong for the Crusaders and they are a great bet to cover the line of 8.5 points.
Recommended Bet: Back The Crusaders To Beat The Line (-8.5 Points)
Saturday 28 May, 7:45am, GIO Stadium
Brumbies 66 - Sunwolves 5
This will be the first ever meeting between the Brumbies and the Sunwolves and the Canberra-based franchise are dominant favourites to record a big win over the Japanese side.
The Brumbies go into this game on the back of professionals wins over both the Bulls and the Rebels, but their record as favourites in the past 12 months is far from convincing and they are 3-4 against the line as home favourites.
The Sunwolves were far from disgraced against the Reds last weekend, but they are still yet to win a game as away underdogs and still have just the one win on their record.
They are 2-2 against the line as away underdogs, but the line of 28.5 points seems just about right and this is another game that I am not particularly keen to bet into.
Recommended Bet: No Bet
Saturday 28 May, 11:00pm, DHL Newlands
Stormers 31 - Cheetahs 24
This will be the second meeting between the Stormers and Cheetahs this season after the Stormers beat the Cheetahs 20-10 at Toyota Stadium earlier in the year.
The Stormers suffered a narrow loss to the Bulls last weekend and they have not won a game for over a month, but they will still start this game as dominant favourites.
The Stormers have been a losing betting proposition in just about every metric in the past 12 months and they have won just four of their past eight games as home favourites, while they are 3-5 against the line in this scenario.
The Cheetahs went on the bye following their win over the Kings, but they have very little left to play for this season.
The struggling side have won just one of their past 11 games as underdogs and they are 4-7 against the line when being given a start.
This is another match that the market has gotten just about right and there is no value on offer in any betting markets.
Recommended Bet: No Bet
Sunday 29 May, 1:10am, Loftus Versfeld
Bulls 20 - Lions 56
The Lions have now kicked clear at the top of the South African Conference and they can maintain that position with a victory over the Bulls.
The Lions have lost just six of their past eight games, while the Bulls returned to winning form last weekend against the Stormers after an unsuccessful tour to Australia.
The market cannot split these two teams and there are arguments to be made for both sides.
The Bulls have won four of their past six games at home and generally play well at Loftus Versfeld, but the Lions have an identical record away from home and have been a very profitable betting team on the road.
The Lions have been a winning play for us all season long and they have the talent to win again this weekend.
Recommended Bet: Back The Lions To Win @ $1.91
Sunday 29 May, 4:05pm, AAMI Park
Rebels 27 - Force 22
The Rebels and Force met in the opening round of the 2016 Super Rugby season and the Rebels recorded a comfortable victory, which the Rebels are expected to do again this weekend.
The Rebels have lost three games on the trot, but the Force are the weakest side that they have faced in some time and the Force have won just one of their past eight games.
While the Rebels are a safe bet as favourites – they are 4-1 in this scenario – they don’t have a great record against the line when giving away a start and they are 1-3 against the line as home favourites.
The Force have actually won two of their past five games as away underdogs for a narrow profit and their record against the line in this scenario is a credible 3-2.
The Force have beaten the line in three of their past four games against the Rebels and they can do the same again this weekend.
Recommended Bet: Back The Force To Beat The Line (+9.5 Points)